Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cookie Monsters

Maisey has made some excellent strides!

Our biggest behavioral problem is that she would bark obsessively at stuff - mostly squirrels and the neighbors. Not normal dog barking, but obsessive, hackle-raising, in-a-trance-that-we-couldn't-break barking. It was this kind of barking that broke two windows because she slammed up against them in her frenzy. When she got like this, nothing could pull her away. Trust me, I tried, and got nipped once. (No blood, no broken skin - but that was the point at which we called the behaviorist.)

I'm proud to report that we are now able to verbally call both Maisey and Gypsy away from any situation with the sound of our voices. The world's biggest squirrel could be taunting them from a tree, there could be an entire construction crew on the other side of the fence... it doesn't matter.

We simply call out, "Girls! COOKIE! COOKIE! COOKIE!" We changed the "treat" word to cookie. It's very distinct sounding and the girls "got it" immediately. So no matter what they're up to, no matter how intense the situation, we yell COOKIE and they drop what they're doing and run to find us. We reward them with a dog biscuit, some broccoli, or maybe popcorn. We keep tossing or handing the treats until they calm down and forget all about the squirrels. Once they're calm, we release them, and all is right in the world.

Guess our old gal can learn some new tricks.

Did someone say cookie?

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